SURGEONS in Zimbabwe have performed their second successful operation to separate Siamese twins after the first historic feat carried out in 1983.
The latest operation, which was carried out by a team of 50 doctors and nurses at Harare Children’s Hospital last week Tuesday, separated Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe Chitiyo born on April 22 sharing the same liver.
The Chitiyo boys, whose father Moses (44) is a vegetable vendor based at Murewa Business Centre, were conjoined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen.
They were delivered at Murewa District Hospital through Caesarian Section and later transferred to Harare Hospital.
Pediatric surgeon Bothwell Mbuwayesango, who was the team leader, told NewsDay yesterday that it took them eight hours and a lot of work and dedication to conduct the operation successfully.
“We managed to separate the two successfully and this was through teamwork,” Mbuwayesango said. “We had close to 50 doctors, nurses, assistants . . . we needed everyone — even the cleaners —to be able to separate the twins properly.”
Mbuwayesango said such operations needed proper planning for them to be successful.
“We worked together very well and the team was all inclusive of Zimbabwean doctors — there was no help from outside,” he said.
“The twins are separated and are currently in the intensive care unit where they are feeding and breathing on their own, but we still have them in hospital for a while.”
Theatre matron Cathrine Charumbira said: “We are humbled to have conducted such a surgery in our institution and we are happy that it went on smoothly.”
Kupakwashe and Tapiwanaishe currently weigh 4,4kgs and 3,4kgs, respectively.
Health and Child Care deputy minister Paul Chimedza said there was need to acquire proper equipment for the doctors so that they can perform well.
“We are happy to have such an operation conducted here and we congratulate the team for such work well done,” Chimedza said.
The mother of the twins Agnes Mongoro (25) could not hide her joy at seeing her sons coming out of the theatre room alive and breaking new medical ground.
“I didn’t know they could be separated, but after counselling I accepted and here they are — separated.”
The twins’ father said: “When I was told that my wife had given birth to conjoined twins, I accepted it and when I saw the kids, they looked healthy that is when we came this side.
“We just prayed for the children. This is the work of the Lord to have had the two boys successfully separated.”
The couple has two other children aged four and 19 months, respectively.
The development could see many parents saving money for trips to South Africa and India where such operations are mostly done.